In any office environment, it is easy to get lost in your screens and pages for eight hours each day, chatting only with those in your immediate vicinity. This pattern has recently been broken at the Georgia Museum of Art thanks to 2,000 pieces of cardboard.
The Very Good Puzzle Company is an Athens business that specializes in creating puzzles from artists and journalists whose work they find interesting or compelling. Michael Lachowski, who received their first two puzzles as a gift from co-owner Brian Dixon, brought them to the museum for the staff to enjoy. The two puzzles both feature works by Lou Kregel (“Chrysanthemums” and “Five Star Day”), and while the finished products are beautiful, the construction is anything but effortless.
|Staff members and volunteers work on the second puzzle from The Very Good Puzzle Company|
Putting together these puzzles has become a refreshing break from the routine for staff members and volunteers at the museum. Shawnya Harris, Paula Arscott and Ashlyn Davis all shared their thoughts on this communal activity, stating that it helps them de-stress from hectic workdays and feel a sense of accomplishment as the picture from the box starts to become clearer.
“[The staff has] bonded over the puzzles,” Arscott stated. She explained that she has had the opportunity to talk to people with whom she doesn’t normally interact on a day-to-day basis. Harris and Davis quickly expressed similar sentiments. Davis, who is a relatively new intern at the museum, stated that she has met a lot more of the staff because of the puzzles.
By watching the puzzle construction in action, it is clear that this is a great shared experience. As each piece is put into its proper place, exclamations and congratulations are not far behind, and strategies are discussed with thoughtful consideration.
Is it better to complete the edges of the puzzle first? Do you look for each piece primarily by color or shape? Is it acceptable to work on the puzzle instead of going out to lunch? These questions have all been debated within the course of the last few weeks, but the answers are less important than the unanticipated amount of fun the staff has had putting these images together piece by piece. Conversations that would seem absurd two weeks ago – “I’m looking for two prongs in blue with just a smudge of black.” – are now uttered without a second thought.
If you would like to purchase these puzzles to try them for yourself, you may purchase them at Avid Bookshop or the Very Good Puzzle website.